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  • Writer's pictureSommer Miller, Esq.

Planning for Embryos: How to Ensure Your Wishes are Legally Honored in Your Pennsylvania Estate Plan




Starting the IVF process opens a world of excitement and hope for many couples. But amidst the anticipation, a sometimes uncomfortable reality emerges: what happens to the remaining embryos or genetic material if one or both parents die?


A Deeply Personal Decision


This is a deeply personal decision with strong opinions on all sides. The issue can even become legally complex, as seen in recent court cases. Given the sensitivity involved, the best course of action is to include your wishes for your embryos and genetic material in your estate plan.


Considering Your Options


There are several ways to handle embryos and genetic material after your death:


  • Disposal: You may choose to have unused embryos disposed of.


  • Donation: Another couple struggling with infertility might benefit from your embryo donation.


  • Continued Use: In some cases, depending on your state laws and prior agreements, the surviving partner may be able to use the embryos with a new partner to complete their family.


Open Communication is Key


This is a conversation to have with your partner and Pennsylvania estate planning attorney. Don't be afraid to share your honest feelings and concerns; we've heard them all before, and our job is to help you find a solution that brings you peace of mind.


Addressing Specific Scenarios


As you begin to think through your options and wishes, here are some additional considerations you may wish to address in your planning:


  • What if Both Parents Pass Away: Who will make decisions about the embryos? Will they be destroyed, donated, or used by another family member?


  • What if One Parent Passes Away: Can the surviving partner use the embryos to build a family, potentially with a new partner? This may depend on your state laws and prior agreements with your deceased partner.


  • Change of Heart: What happens if you initially planned to use the embryos but later change your mind? The good thing to know is that your estate plan can be updated to reflect your evolving wishes.


Remember, There's No One-Size-Fits-All Answer


The best plan for you will depend on your unique circumstances and your family's values. Open communication and a well-crafted estate plan will ensure your wishes are respected, even after you're gone. If you have additional questions or you would like to start the process of memorializing your wishes for your embryos and/or genetic material, we are here to offer guidance and support. Simply click the booking link below and we’ll help you create a plan that reflects your hopes and values for your growing family.



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